The role of drama may actually increase its importance in futureINOUE Yoshio Actor
- I’m INOUE Yoshio. Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the New National Theatre, Tokyo!
- 【First encounter with the New National Theatre】
- When I came to Tokyo from Fukuoka as a student, my first part-time job was checking tickets and ushering at the New National Theatre. The Theatre had only been open about two years prior. I answered an ad in the paper and continued working for more than a year, until my debut as an actor in the musical “Elisabeth”.
- 【Memories of “Sixteen Wounded”】
- Given the chance to perform at the New National Theatre, I had hoped to work on a serious play that couldn’t be done elsewhere. Then came along this play. It dealt with issues on Palestinians, of which I knew next to nothing, so I first had to learn about the history of the Middle East. Both the content of the play and the role I played had made such an impact on me that it has changed the way I look at the world. Now, when I see or hear the news on that issue, I feel directly involved. It’s a play that totally changed my view of the world. As for the production, I remember that we had so many heated discussions in the rehearsal room with the director, MIYATA Keiko, and other actors. Such wonderful people to work with and a great piece of theatre. MIYATA was very strict and gave us so many notes. It was hard to cope at times, but I learnt so much from her; things such as how to keep working towards a goal without giving up, and what we should rely on when performing on stage.
- 【The musical “Passion”】
- Musicals are not done very often at the New National Theatre, and it was the first time for me to be playing in a Sondheim musical. “Passion” is unlike other musicals that tend to be lighthearted comedies, but I actually found that quite motivating. It starts with a bedroom scene and is a story about love, but nothing is straightforward. It felt a bit like trial and error, even up to the final performance on the final day. But many people came to see it, and it was a joy to work on this production.
- 【On “1984”, scheduled for April 2018】
- This will be my third appearance at the New National Theatre. Not that it’s my intention to tackle plays which are so sensational all the time, but here again, when I first read the book it blew me away, and I wanted to work on this play with OGAWA Eriko, the director. Now that the world we live in started to resemble more and more like the world of the play, people can’t regard the story as fiction. To be given the chance to perform this play in the middle of these times seems like fate, some kind of mission, or meant to be. It has already been performed in London and on Broadway, and finding ways of presenting it to the Japanese audience is going to be quite a challenge. On the other hand, I’m looking forward to this challenge, as I feel I could discover a new side to myself.
- 【The role of drama and the theatre】
- As much as we love the genre of drama, whenever there is an earthquake or some kind of accident, we can’t help feeling powerless; we keep asking ourselves what drama can do for the society. With the world now growing ever more “digital”, we can do all sorts of things without actually going anywhere. Yet I think tremendous energy is created when we actually see people on stage in front of us, hear their voices and feel their movement. I also think that, by seeing a play in a theatre, we feel and relive the experiences of people from countries other than our own, from the historical period other than our own. So if anything, I think perhaps the role of drama may actually increase its importance in future.